Ellicott City, MD – July 1, 1999 [Revised]: After viewing a 700 Club report on a rally held by the Military Pagan Network in support of religious freedom in the military, the Reverend Pat Robertson gave the following endorsement: “I’m not worried about a little coven of Witches…Rather than suppress us all, we might give them freedom.”
Recently, politicians such as Senator Strom Thurmond, Governor George Bush and Representative Bob Barr have assailed the rights of Wiccans to use military facilities in pursuit of their religion. Wicca, a nature-oriented Pagan religion, is considered an organized religion by the Armed Forces.
“The first Wiccan religious service held in the military was in Kaiserslautern, Germany, in 1992,” said John Machate, Coordinator of the Military Pagan Network. “Currently there are nine Wiccan open circles and six Pagan study groups at military bases all over the world. But even where no open circles or study groups exist, the Network can sometimes connect personnel with Pagan contacts in the local community.”
On Monday night, the Military Pagan Network held a full moon prayer circle near the Jefferson Memorial in support of continued religious freedom in the military. About sixty or seventy Pagans invoked the power of the Old Gods and charged magical talismans–postcards of the Statue of Liberty with a quote from Thomas Jefferson printed on the back–in support of religious freedom.
John Machate, said “Religious tolerance is the price of religious freedom for all. We were pleased that the Christian Broadcasting Network attended our press event. Their story was fair and balanced. We thank Reverend Robertson for his support of religious freedom.”
Founded in 1992, incorporated in 1997 the Military Pagan Network Inc. acted as a store and group information resource for Neopagans in the military. The corporation now provides material regarding various Neopagan religions to the Chaplaincy, as well as fulfilling its original goal of providing contacts near military bases around the world. In 1997 the corporation expanded its services to include assisting military members with the proper handling of harassment and discrimination. In 1999 the IRS gave the Military Pagan Network, Inc. tax-exempt status in accordance with Internal Revenue Code 501(c)3.
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Copyright 1999, Military Pagan Network Inc.